During World War Two, the famed English conductor Eugene Goossens, music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, commissioned various American composers to submit patriotic pieces to celebrate the Allied war effort against Germany, Italy, and Japan. Eighteen compositions (including one by Goossens himself), brief fanfares all, were submitted and were played over the course of the orchestra’s 1942–43 season. The most famous submissions—indeed the only one that has entered the classical repertoire—is Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.” Yet the seventeen remaining ones are all of both musical and historical interest, though recordings of them are difficult to find. Below is Paul Creston’s “A Fanfare for Paratroopers,” a fine example of these patriotic fanfares, which in our cynical age, seem sadly quaint. The full list of “Goossens’ Fanfares” is below the video. —Editor
All fanfares, with their premiere date, are listed below.
1. A Fanfare for Airmen, Bernard Wagenaar, Oct. 9, 1942
2. A Fanfare for Russia, Deems Taylor, Oct. 16, 1942.
3. A Fanfare for the Fighting French, Walter Piston, Oct. 23, 1942.
4. A Fanfare to the Forces of our Latin-American Allies, Henry Cowell, Oct. 30, 1942.
5. A Fanfare for Friends, Daniel Gregory Mason, Nov. 6, 1942.
6. A Fanfare for Paratroopers, Paul Creston, Nov. 27, 1942.
7. Fanfare de la Liberte, Darius Milhaud, Dec. 11, 1942.
8. A Fanfare for American Heroes, William Grant Still, Dec. 18, 1942.
9. Fanfare for France, Virgil Thomson, Jan. 15, 1943.
10. Fanfare for Freedom, Morton Gould, Jan. 22, 1943.
11. Fanfare for Airmen, Leo Sowerby, Jan. 29, 1943.
12. Fanfare for Poland, Harl McDonald, Feb. 5, 1943.
13. Fanfare for the Medical Corps, Anis Fuleihan, Feb. 26, 1943.
14. Fanfare for the American Soldier, Felix Borowski, March 5, 1943.
15. Fanfare for the Common Man, Aaron Copland, March 12, 1943.
16. Fanfare for the Signal Corps, Howard Hanson, April 2, 1943.
17. Fanfare for the Merchant Marine, Eugene Goossens, April 16, 1943.
Performed at a “popular” concert:
18. Fanfare for Commandos, Bernard Rogers, Feb. 20, 1943.
This list comes from the website of the Cinncinnati Symphony Orchestra.
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The featured image is “Members of the 82nd Airborne Division,” courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.